Next in Media with EVP, Chief Investment Officer David Campanelli

June, 2023

Ahead of 2023’s TV upfront cycle, Horizon’s EVP, Chief Investment Officer David Campanelli joined host Mike Shields on his Next in Media podcast to talk about the role of upfronts in the current landscape, where social video platforms stand, and the frustrations of Neilsen.

Below are highlights of the conversation, edited for clarity. To listen to the full episode, click here: Next in Media with David Campanelli

On the marketer mindset in today’s unpredictable economy

The key word is uncertainty. There are some indicators in the marketplace that are really negative or trending poorly, like inflation. But job numbers are good, spending within the ad marketplace is down a bit but no one is pressing the panic button yet, so it’s just a lot of different signals.

The 18-month out timeline was always a challenge to some extent, but the tradeoffs were there, the value of linear TV was there. Now, with so much uncertainty moving forward, the value exchange is different. The advertisers are questioning, can I commit to an upfront, can I commit to any media that far out? The big difference today versus a couple of years ago — certainly 5, 10 years ago — is there are so many options. If you don’t participate in the upfront, you have so many options throughout the year so you don’t feel like you’re held to this upfront, all or nothing. 

And it’s not only choices but choices that are very similar to linear TV — CTV space, streaming TV space. There is ample opportunity throughout the year to buy into the streaming space. Every streamer out there has seen greater growth in viewership and users than they have in dollar spend, though that’s growing too.

On how this is affecting the upfronts

Every marketer who can see that far in the future sees value in what the upfront brings, but more and more need that time and need that flexibility. So what we’re seeing, particularly this year, is a more drawn-out process. The upfront is not going away completely — there needs to be collectively kind of this moment in time where we set the marketplace, where the marketplace gets set for the following year. 

On YouTube’s seat at the table and why TikTok and other platforms aren’t there — yet

I think YouTube quite honestly has forced its way to the table just based on the sheer volume of the CTV space that it occupies. It’s such a large percentage — you can’t be buying video without considering YouTube.

Arguably, it’s a bit different, which is why it’s taken a long time. It’s user-generated, it’s not as premium as we would say video is, TV streaming typically is, but we price it as such.

The TikToks, the Snaps, etc. they’re a couple of years behind YouTube in that evolution. I think we will get to a point where we need to see all of that in one video ecosystem because there are so many eyeballs so many young eyeballs going there that we’re going to need to but when you’re talking about a TV screen versus a phone you’re talking about 30 seconds versus different formats on TikTok and Snapchat, it’s a different animal right now. They’ll slowly get there, but it’s not quite the same.

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